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US v. Graham, 08-5993

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By FindLaw Staff on September 21, 2010 3:25 PM

US v. Graham, 08-5993, concerned a challenge to a defendant's convictions for crack-cocaine related offenses and a life sentence, claiming inter alia, that the district court's imposition of a life sentence violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 


In affirming both the convictions and the sentence, the court held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motions for a judgment of acquittal as the government presented sufficient evidence at trial for a reasonable jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was guilty of the offenses charged.  The court also held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to disregard life sentence and did not commit plain error in using defendant's 1995 adult conviction for an offense committed while a juvenile, but prosecuted and sentenced in an adult proceeding, as a triggering prior felony-drug offense conviction under 21 U.S.C. section 841(b)(1)(A).  Also, defendant's sentence under section 841(b)(1)(A)(iii) is not unconstitutional, and defendant's further sentencing challenge is without merit as the district court did not err in imposing defendant's statutory mandatory minimum life sentence.

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